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CBI books senior KRC official, contractor for EPF fraud

Panaji : The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered an FIR against a senior official of the Konkan Railway Corporation and a contractor for allegedly committing an EPF fraud running into over  Rs 18 lakh.

The rail official has been accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating, abuse of official position by a public servant and corruption.

The official has been identified as M G Kshetrapal, the senior regional mechanical engineer of KRC, Margao. The other  accused include  the contractor M K Belawadi of Hubballi-based  M/s M K Belawadi.

The contractor was awarded a contract to maintain running rooms and lobbies of Verna and Margao railway stations.

It has been alleged that Belawadi during  2018-2019, in conspiracy with Kshetrapal, did not deposit the mandatory EPF and ESIC contributions of his workers engaged for the  work.

This reportedly caused a loss of over Rs 18 lakh to the central government, said the CBI. 

The contractor dishonestly submitted bills of the contract work with a false claim that EPF and ESIC contributions of the workers had been made by him, the CBI disclosed.

The contractor allegedly submitted fake and forged employee contribution receipts to the KRCL for payment. Kshetrapal, who had been reportedly apprised of the non-payment of the mandatory EPF and ESIC contributions, in conspiracy with the contactor, abused his official position and dishonestly cleared the bills of the firm.

He did not look into the claims made by the contractor on contributions and did not undertake  any verification with EPFO and ESIC, the CBI has said.

The contractor cheated the central government towards EPF and ESIC contributions causing  a wrongful loss of Rs 18,06,065 to the government and wrongful gain to the contractor, said  the   FIR registered by the CBI.

It has also been alleged that as directed by Belawadi, the  manager of the firm Phool Chand dishonestly opened bank accounts in workers’ names in the Margao branch of a nationalised  bank and kept the passbooks and ATM cards with himself.

Salary amounts credited in their bank accounts were dishonestly withdrawn through ATM on the same day by Chand, who  paid in cash the monthly salary of Rs 7000 and Rs 10,000 against the contractual salary of Rs 14,610 and Rs 19,350 for unskilled and skilled workers respectively,  the CBI has said. 

It is learnt that the CBI conducted an inquiry that unearthed the fraud committed by Kshetrapal and Belawadi,  revealing commission of cognisable offences of criminal misconduct, criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.

The contract to maintain the running rooms and lobbies had been awarded to the firm for Rs 94,35,476.  The contract was for a period of one year – from June 1, 2018 to May 25, 2019.

Sources said the CBI  raided the offices and residences of the accused  in connection with the case.

CBI’s police inspector Anil Kumar Dabas is investigating the case.

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